These posts are adapted from the 20 minute lessons on story telling presented by Dan at the beginning of our Workshop! Workshop! show.
In my work as a teacher, I’ve found scaffolding is an effective tool to help people learn. This is something Dan talked about in his Workshop! Workshop! back in early January. And I think it’d be worth going over. In terms of helping people learn, scaffolding simply means you help people by giving them the support they need to complete a task at first, and then allowing them to complete it on their own as they begin to master that task. The idea is to allow the student to enjoy the achievement of success – to give them faith in their ability and capacity to learn.
There’s a couple cool things that I learned about scaffolding as it pertains to storytelling. Basically when you’re first starting to tell stories your parents will build the story for you and let you put in little points. Monisha from the last article, gave a good example of this. And I’m going to share it directly with you here:
She had a two year old with a treasured teddy bear. She found him coming out of the bathroom, and the teddy bear was just sopping wet. It’s just gross wet and he had this giant goofy grin on his face. He looks up at her and she asks, “Were you in the bathroom with the teddy?” He nods and she asks, “What happened?”
He looks up at her, all smiles, and says, “Plop!”
She basically built the whole story but he nailed the punch line. She goes on to say, he’s nearly four and still nails his punch lines and comedic timing. But he has also learned to build the rest of the story himself.
You are not a kid anymore. You are done with the implicit learning of stories. (You’re probably never done with implicit learning.) You are reading this now, you know the importance of explicit learning. You know the importance of dedicated practice. Find a good coach, take classes, share your experiences with friends and peers. Use all these techniques to increase your storytelling skills.